What A Load Of Testimonials!

JAIL

We have been following yesterday’s reports in the local press who were in attendance at Wirral Magistrates court where the Jack Nolan “Teenage Rampage” case reached it’s inevitable conclusion as ” Our Jack” gets a slap on the wrist. SEE HERE AND HERE

JACK2
As Nolan pleaded guilty to charges of affray and assaulting a woman by beating Judge Michael Abelson gushed:

“This is a wholly exceptional case.I can’t remember the last time I read so many testimonials from such an extraordinary range of people, from parish priests to head teachers….”

He also quite unbelievable went on to say – “”I can see what’s happened here. This young man who doesn’t really drink alcohol has had drink given to him by the gallon and feeling nice and relaxed and having a nice evening, has just drunk himself senseless”   Oh so that’s OK then…  although you missed the bit out about assaulting a woman and attempting to stab people… bless him. The poor lad is obviously the victim here.

Might we suggest that Judge Abelson gets out more or at least appraises himself of how things work on the sinful peninsula . This is NOT an exceptional case at all – and ordinarily we wouldn’t comment on the antics of a drunken, violent woman beating prick…..but in this case we will make an exception.

And the reason we comment is that this sordid little story is symbolic of EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG.

It’s the usual topsy-turvy world of Wirral which we report on week in week out on Wirral Leaks where “the great and good” run to the defence of the guilty and the tired old meaningless cliche of “lessons have been learned” is trawled out ,until the next time and the time after that……. The only lesson that “No-Mark” Nolan will have learned is that when you’re in trouble it’s not who you beat up it’s who bigs you up.

If Nolan’s mother wasn’t the Mayor’s consort – would the outcome have been different?

Who knows? – but it certainly didn’t work against him as he was able to drag on a cast of hasbeens ( Ex-Cllr Bri “Nylon” Kenny ), nonentities ( Power Boy Pip) and God -botherers ( Father Phil – who’s stock in trade is forgiveness – and Lord knows he’s had enough practice with Foulkesy).

Meanwhile we see this sinister hypocrisy on a bigger and more sickening scale with the defence of Foulkesy himself and his sidekick Georgie Boy Davies by Frank Field and Power Boy Pip as they try desperately to cover up the Wirralgate scandal. Those tapes must be worth “A King’s Ransom” (or more accurately “A Mayor’s Ransom”) by now.

So next time you see Power Boy Pip trailing behind Frankenfield like a scabby dog, shaking his head in despair at anti-social behaviour in the badlands of Birkenhead just remember his fawning testimonial from today and ask yourself would he be quite so quick to run to the defence of kids who aren’t quite so well connected ?.

On a final note we’d like to contrast Judge Abelson’s concern about how a less lenient sentence might have affected poor “No-mark” Nolan’s future career prospects with the complete lack of concern show by Wirral’s councillors to those people who’s careers have been destroyed as a result of exposing Council corruption.

Drinking Wine With Cesare Borgia

Cesare-Borgia-(1)
We were perusing the local news sites on Monday evening and reading about the conduct of one Jack Terrence Nolan,who had just pleaded guilty to assault and affray at Birkenhead Magistrates Court. See HERE

Readers will remember that police were called to the Thornton Hall Hotel last October where Cllr Steve Foulkes and his consort fiancée Elaine Nolan were hosting a fundraising ball.

It was here that the Mayor’s future stepson tanked up on tequila,champagne and wine attacked hotel staff and uttered that immortal line:

” My mum’s the mayor, she will sort it out”.

Our first thoughts were concerned with the sickening irony of a seemingly dissolute Mayor’s Ball being held in a top hotel where tickets cost £40 a pop and yet one of the charities benefiting from the bash (no pun intended) were foodbanks ! These reflections were rudely interrupted by Her Ladyship calling us from the drawing room with the anguished cry of : ” Quick!,the ghoul and his poodle are on the gogglebox tut- tutting about anti-social behaviour”…..

And sure enough there was Frankenfield and Power Boy Pip all wrapped up in wool overcoats and scarves with a police escort cruising the badlands of Birkenhead between 7pm- 9pm last Friday night ( because as we all know unruly youths are normally tucked up in bed by the watershed).
Frank did his usual ” I blame the parents” routine whilst Pip just stood there looking gormless in Asda.  SEE HERE

We were then suddenly struck by the links between the story of the Mayor’s drunken future stepson and this particular TV appearance /PR stunt.
As we know Frankenfield is always calling for feckless parents and errant youths to start taking responsibility for their actions and being held accountable for their anti-social behaviour. However we feel this is something he needs to practice rather than preach. He needs by condemning the behaviour of some local Labour politicians rather than co-ordinating a cover up which means that it is unlikely that they will ever be held accountable for their serious misconduct. From circumventing Local Government Commissioners coming in to sort out Wirral Council out in 2012 to preventing the Wirralgate tapes ever getting an airing he’s been getting his mates out of trouble for years.

“My mate is Frank ,he will sort it out”

At least Young Mr.Nolan is being held accountable for his actions and will hopefully have learned a valuable lesson in life. It’s just a shame that his future stepfather isn’t a better role model as he still has to rely on others to get him out of trouble.

So before next time Frank starts badmouthing Birkenhead and some of his constituents he might want to consider the behaviour of some senior Wirral politicians and ask himself who’s more worthy of criticism – the mob or the yob?…….

* As an aside Verity has been undertaking some background research and brought to our attention the curious sadistic tone that runs through some of Frankenfield’s rhetoric.

From this in 1989 talking about the now newly retired lawyer Nick Warren in the House of Commons:
“I am unique in having a legal unit in my constituency which helps me with my constituents’ legal grievances. That in itself would be worth bringing to the attention of the House, but the fact that that unit is staffed by the most talented welfare rights lawyer makes it doubly so and, I am sure, a pleasurable pain in the flesh of the Government….”

….to this in 2014 talking about anti-social behaviour and that “new legislation is needed “that warmly shakes them by the throat….”

Freud would quite literally have a Field day

When Foulksey Met Her Majesty

FOULKSEY-MAJ

Imagine our delight at Leaky Towers when we discovered that last week’s Wirral News had not one,not two,not three but FOUR photos of Mayor Foulkesy .
This included the portrait attached to his yawn-inducing weekly column ,where for some strange reason , the Mayor’s Ball at Thornton Hall Hotel barely warranted a mention.
Can’t think why can you ?!……..

However we have to say that another highlight of the mayoral year has sadly not been reported locally.

This particular auspicious event was the Mayor and Mayoress’s attendance at a Royal Garden  Party at Buckingham Palace in June just after Foulkesy’s triumphant inauguration.

Regina

Of course we don’t expect Foulksey to have the insight to question the savage irony of attending a Royal Garden Party and posting pictures on social networks of exclusive dining at Roux Parliament Square  whilst at the same time championing foodbanks for the poor back on Wirral ……. well certainly not when there’s fawning and forelock tugging to be done and a day out in that there London impressing his fiancee.

Up until now we have been left to wonder as to what went on in the grounds of Buck House on that fateful day until our royal correspondent Si Coffant belatedly posted this eyewitness report:

Mayor Foulkesy and Mayoress,the Lovely Elaine were at the finger buffet when Foulksey dug his consort in the ribs and whispered: ” Hey Lainey isn’t that the one off the stamps and the coins and the telly on Christmas Day?…”

(The Lovely Elaine was preoccupied with a gobful of vol-au-vent but managed to nod in confirmation.) Foulkesy with his plate overloaded with fancy canapes bounded over the palace lawn,neatly dodging the corgis whilst rapidly being pursued by his consort:

Foulkesy : Hey! how ya diddlin’ Queen?.I’ve always wanted to say that ‘cos it’s funny as you is de actual Queen? Gerritt?!

Her Majesty: Yes,most amusing I’m sure…er,have you come far?

Foulkesy : Deffo – our Council Leader Pip Lad says I’m an inspiration as I rose from humble origins to be Mayor and first citizen of Wirral.

Her Majesty : Wirral? Do tell me- where is that exactly ? Is it part of the Commonwealth?

Foulkesy: More common than wealth ma’am

Her Majesty : So I see ….and yes  I seem to have a faint recollection of Prince Philip and I receiving an apology from a Wirral Councillor by the name of  let me see (rummages in handbag for letter )  Ah yes ,here it is … a Councillor by the name of  Janette Willliamson who I understand made a rather vulgar and disrespectful  remark about my dear husband  ….. her apology reads as follows:  “I would like to make a full and unreserved apology for my comments on Twitter.I appreciate the tone and content of the messages was completely inappropriate and would like to say sorry for any offence caused.I feel I have let myself and the Labour Party down and promise to learn from my mistake….”

Foulkesy: She was only jokin’ ya , your Maj –  it’s just our cheeky northern humour …(rapidly changing subject)  …..Anyway can I introduce you to me judy,only she’s not called Judy it’s da lovely Elaine

Her Majesty: Charmed I’m sure….and how did you meet?

Foulkesy: (rapidly changing subject again ) …. er,love da butties ma’am.Did ya make ’em yerself?.Dead posh…….look Lainey – no crusts

Her Majesty : No I have a man that makes all the necessary arrangements

Foulkesy : So do I – ‘is name’s George

Her Majesty : How delightful that’s the same name as my new great -grandson.

Foulkesy : Yeah and the similarities don’t end there Queen – our George is equally privileged, protected and always in da papers too.

The Lovely Elaine: Love your frock… is it from Marksy’s?

Her Majesty : (coughs)…It’s been a pleasure.However one must move on to meet one’s other guests (whispers to Lady In Waiting) …..call security.

And on a final note can we add  that this weeks Mayor’s Diary throws up another cruel irony :

18th November 9.25 am – The Mayor will open Wirral’s Anti Bullying Conference at the Pilgrim Street Arts Centre, Birkenhead.

As Her Ladyship said whilst shaking her head in despair : ” Dearie me it’s like getting Harold Shipman to head up Age Concern….”

Fattymeetsqueen

The Wit and Wisdom Of …..

FOULKSEYmayor

We understand that our first citizen had the luxury of sunning himself in Greece during the summer holidays where we imagine he re-acquainted himself with Plato’s “The Republic” – concerned as it is with truth and justice. This contemplation led us to reflect on the philosophical musings of Foulkesy himself – the inspirational leader/hardfaced schemer (depending on your standpoint. )

We’d particularly like to thank Verity for raiding the Leaky Towers archives enabling us to identify our top ten quotes from/about the Wirral wideboy, sorry, wiseguy:

1) On the Libraries Closure Debacle :

Who can forget the time when protestors angry at the closure of local libraries crammed themselves into the Civic Hall to hear Foulkesy explain why the shocking measures were necessary. Barracked loudly and taking plenty of personal abuse he nevertheless managed to bring his usual gravitas to the situation. He said: “If I was to be hit by a bus tomorrow (cheers from the gallery) there would still be the budget issues and problems for this council. People can speculate as much as they want but the fact is, the savings we wanted to make to reinvest elsewhere were not being realised and we had to consider the budget”

The fact that the closure proposals were later deemed to be unlawful by the Charteris Inquiry passes him by – as unfortunately did the bus.

2) On Becoming Mayor :

“It’s a great honour, with immense responsibility. I know I may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but I will work really hard to unite the borough. I’ve always only ever done my best for the borough and as mayor, this will be no exception. In this job I will continue to do my best for the borough.As I said in my speech, we are only a few wage packets away, or a very serious accident away, from being in a situation of crisis. There, but by the grace of God go I, ……..”

As Eldritch said: “Where is that ****ing bus?…..”

3) On Vote of No Confidence (following the publication of Independent Review report ) :

“I did some inner reflection and thought about my position – but Cllr Green made it easy for me. Clearly, mistakes have been made. What could I have done and what should I have done? These are questions that repeatedly go through my mind. I accept the criticisms made in the report. It is now time to work together with all parties and move forward.”

We have some ideas what you could have and should have done…. just go! and never darken the pages of the Wirral News again ! – We would have even have given you the bus fare ( we wouldn’t want you being accused of fare-dodging). In fact we would have doubled the fare so you could take your bezzy with you…. on a slowboat to China. Or perhaps not……judging by his comments your bezzy doesn’t seem too keen!

4) On being ousted as Leader of The Council :

“I am, by modern day standards, an old-fashioned politician. I believe that the good of the Wirral, and the good of the council, come first and political ambitions come second. I find it impossible to subscribe to the notions crossing the Atlantic that constant negative publicity either wins votes or makes the opposition voters stay home and fail to vote. These notions are increasingly popular with the Conservative party locally and, I believe, have led to the kind of poisonous politics we are seeing now which I believe are damaging to all politicians, and to the people we are elected to serve.The real danger is that constant negative publicity about Wirral, generated for political ends, will make potential investors stay away.”

Where to start with this one? – old -fashioned politician? We think you mean neanderthal. And “poisonous politics” Foulksey? – who are you kidding ? There’s a toxic crew which has set the political tone on Wirral for a quarter of a century ! Exhibit A : Cllr Harry Smith. The man who would put the offensive in a charm offensive…..Oh and by the way what will make potential investors stay away Foulkesy is your bezzy badmouthing them …capisce?

5) On the manipulation of whistleblowers :

Elaborating on his ludicrous and insulting comments he made at a previous Audit and Risk Management Committee Foulkesy shares his personal insight with Patricia Thynne for her pisspoor “Wirralgate” report :

” Some years later,Cllr Foulkes became a member of the Audit and Risk management committee. In that role he was seeking to amend the formal policy for the Council on the treatment of whistleblowers .He says he was anxious to introduce a clear prohibition against the political manipulation of whistleblowers .At the time some whistleblowers seemed to be feted and courted by some councillors whilst others were ignored.It occurred to him that the use of whistleblowers by politicians for political ends might itself constitute harm or damage that would support their claim (for) compensation from the Council.He thought that the document he had seen would provide good evidence to support his case about preventing this happening in the future.”

The hypocrisy on display here is simply breathtaking – it is our honest opinion that Foulkesy and his bezzy ( supported by Power Boy Pip and led by Frankenfield) have undoubtedly used whistleblowers for “political ends” .

We also believe the document in question was acquired to smear Clr.Jefferson Green because of the grief that Foulkesy was still getting because of the Independent Review ( aka the AKA Report) – a desperate and deeply misguided tit for tat achieved by…….. the manipulation of whistleblowers!

So tell us again Foulkesy – how exactly did you acquire that document you refer to?….And was it a good idea to hand it over to a local journalist in the vicinity of 4 (!) whistleblowers ? – Especially when those whistleblowers are all keen followers of this blog and have been a tootin’ and a whistlin’ to us about the incident ever since. Listen guys we don’t know what the document says – if we did we’d tell you!.We  think you should ask a certain council manager as we undersatnd she read it whilst having a fag during the Council meeting adjournment on July 15th 2013. Might we suggest a large cheque may have clouded her recollections?

6) On “Foulkesworld” :

“Foulkesworld” was a short-lived Twitter account (oh how we miss it – written as it was by a clearly disgruntled Labour insider) which prompted this response:

“The account has clearly been set up by someone who has not got the best regard for myself.I briefly had a look at it but dismissed it very quickly.But if we find that it has a political motivation behind it, it just shows how pathetic they are. People can be reassured that it has nothing to do with Labour but it raises issues that people can seemingly get away with things like this and face no retribution.”

People getting away with “things” and facing “no retribution” ?. Anyone in mind ? – you? ,your bezzy?, any number of Council officers who’ve had pay offs to shut up and go away ? – or indeed for “hurting their feelings” ? . I think we should be told……

7) On the Martin Morton whistleblowing case:

Morton writes in response to a particularly bonkers Foulkes pronouncement : “The paragraph on the Globe website, which had me heading for the beta-blockers, read: “Cllr Foulkes said the affair had proved that anyone within the council with a complaint – ‘or a whistleblower, as the term has been used in this case’ – would have their grievances properly investigated and acted upon.”

Morton commented at the time that this quote “.. reinforced the experience repeated over the last few years of living in a parallel universe where wrong is right, bad is good and lies are truth.Had I not taken my serious concerns to the Audit Commission this matter would have been buried as deep as nuclear waste – proof positive of the catastrophic failure of Wirral Council to address my concerns.”

Foulkesy has persistently shown that he doesn’t understand the differences between “complaints” and “whistleblowing” and “grievances”. Wirral Council has 3 separate policies – he should check them out sometime. And anyway we thought the whole point of this case was that the Council hadn’t investigated and acted upon the whistleblowing allegations and Morton took them to wherever he needed to – the Audit Commission,the Care Quality Commission , the police , the press …. shame it seems that only the press were interested!.

8) On Tory Social Care cuts proposals :

“WAKE up Jeff! What’s happening in Wirral’s Care Services is not only scandalous and outrageous.It is also unnecessary and financially stupid. A staggering £13m has been taken out of Wirral’s Social Care Budget and the majority of that £13m is actually being taken out of the very services that have been used to keep overall costs down.

What was “scandalous” and “outrageous” were the things happening in Wirral’s Care Services that were covered up and those who were protected – in this case council officers and not vulnerable people. Talking of which….

9) On the retirement of social services director Kevin “Windy” Miller: (channeling John Prescott fused with Edward Lear)

“I find the attempt to make political capital in an election period out of the personal decision of an individual to take early retirement extremely distasteful and unethical. Kevin Miller, an excellent officer of the Council who will be very much missed, has made no public statement about the reasons for his decision, which was neither sudden nor unplanned for.Even if he had made any such statement, it should have remained confidential to councillors because the law protects the privacy of the individual on contract matters. It is certainly not for others to put totally speculative words or reasons in his mouth for their own political gain.Even though his motive may partly have been to protect the Director from wild accusations from the more unscrupulous members of his own party, this letter is still totally outside the boundaries of acceptable political behaviour and compromises the recognised role of a Scrutiny Committee.”

What is “distasteful” and “unethical” is the public defence of a subsequently discredited Director by his bezzy Matron McLaughlin and Foulkesy – a man who oversaw the most dysfunctional department during the Council’s most shameful period of recent history and yet he was seemingly worthy of such a public outpouring of support. It seems a shame that Miller didn’t reward this loyalty and tell Foulkesy or Matron about the multi-million pound toxic debts built up mainly on his watch or the unlawful charging or the abuse of vulnerable people by rogue social care providers.

10) On being haunted by the past:

“Strange how your past haunts you, isn’t it ?.I was just remembering how overawed I was as a child by a visit to the Mayor’s Parlour in Birkenhead Town Hall. Then there I was in that same room again, this time having lunch with the Duke of Kent. Part of me was Cllr Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral Council, playing host to a royal visitor; part of me was still a scruffy little lad from Upper Brassey Street, wondering if my mum and dad would clout me for telling tales if I said I had had my dinner with a Duke….”

Which begs the question – are you still telling tales and if so can we form an orderly queue to give you a clout round the ear Foulkesy? Anyway we suspect that your past will indeed be coming back to haunt you and very, very soon…..

Consultant Insults

CONSUL

Wirral Leaks has been for some time highlighting the worrying situation of Wirral Council hiring highly paid consultants at exorbitant rates whilst at the same time explaining how services must be cut and staff need to be made redundant and anyway it’s all the governments fault.

Wirral Council’s use of consultants seems to be for 3 reasons :

1) For when they’re in a hole of their own making – “Here’s a shed-load of money if you write any old flannel as long as the conclusion is – “No case to answer” !

2) Absolve the Council of responsibility for decision-making  – ” It was the independent,external consultant who recommended that we cull half of our workforce and lay waste to public services.We didn’t want to really ,honestly…..”

3) Compensate for the sheer ineptitude and negligence of  council officers on megabuck salaries who seem to have absolutely no idea what they’re bloody doing!  – As her Ladyship said ” If I was on a life raft and reliant on a full set of chief officers for survival I think I’d throw myself overboard and take my chances with the sharks”

The latest beneficiaries of the Wirral Council runaway gravy train are a consultancy firm by the name of V4 who have given Wirral Council the V-sign and been paid £260,000 for what was initially a £50,000 job – SEE HERE

Nice work if you can get it and you can get it when Wirral Council officers and councillors are simply not up to the job and where it’s always amateur hour!.

Despite this work being authorised by Labour cabinet member Cllr.Chris Meaden , Power Boy Pip displays  his renowned leadership skills and plays pass the parcel by claiming  that the issue “concerns officers”. We were also interested to read about this case that “delegated powers” to  Wirral Councillors allow payment of monies up to the value of £50,000. That’ll explain the £48,000 for “hurt feelings” then!  – ” Let’s keep it just under £50,000 and we’ll throw in a couple of packets of Benson & Hedges”.

Finally Wirral Leaks would like to offer some advice to Wirral Council staff currently facing redundancy who fancy a piece of the action.

A guide on how to become a Wirral Council consultant is helpfully set out on the ever illuminating Wirral In it Together blog:

SEE HERE
The steps are:

1. Prove yourself “useful” to Wirral Council
2. Nab a 12 month contract
3. Set up a consultancy company
4. Think of a number – treble it and there you have your daily rate (£515 in this case)
5. Get your contract extended (with or without councillor scrutiny).
6. Trebles all round!

Deviation Wirral

WIRRAL-GOLF

Despite protestations to the contrary “Destination Wirral” appears to be a bid by Wirral Council to turn the peninsula into one great big golf course.

Of course “Destination Wirral” is not to be confused with “Destination Excellence” (stop sniggering) the monumental Foulkesy fail that followed the publication of Klonowski’s Independent Review.

Remember how we laughed as Foulkesy  promised to adhere to the recommendations of the Independent Review and the Corporate Governance Report that preceded it, with “bible-like” devotion?

However this latest feeble branding exercise at least has the benefit of a “Destination Manager” (which sounds like a Council rebranding of Foulkesy’s mayoral chauffeur).

But then again this person seems to have a loose grasp of geography when it comes to Wirral’s boundaries themselves. Witness the recent Wirral Folk Festival (Anyone heard about it? – No thought not!)

http://www.visitwirral.com/whats-on/wirral-folk-festival-p72541

Now please forgive us but when were Ellesmere Port or Whitby annexed by Wirral? and why would Wirral Council give money to venues to hold a Wirral Folk Festival there?

It has been suggested to us that this enables Wirral Council managers to tick a box in the pursuit of European Union funny money (European Regional Development Fund to be specific) We can only ask ourselves whether chasing the Euro will herald the return of “Eurowirral” ? – anyone remember that risible branding exercise undertaken by the Council ?

However it strikes us that if the Council were really serious about Wirral being a “destination” rather than a “deviation” that it would help if there was a Tourist Information Centre rather than relying on the likes Royal & Ancient website plugging hotel accommodation for the upcoming Open golf championships mainly out Chester way because nobody knows where “Wirral” actually is!……….

Meanwhile the Council’s obsession with golf continues unabated with news of them “consulting” about the flogging off of municipal golf courses. Except Hoylake of course !  – could this have anything to do with the postponed announcement mooted for the opening day of the Open when the Council planned to unveil the Last of the International Playboys funding partner they had lined up to thrill us all with news of a luxury golf resort coming to Wirral?

Needless to say the momentous event went the way of all Wirral Council drives down the fairway – in the rough and unplayable. Therefore we can’t help wondering whether this golf resort proposal doesn’t end up being Stella Shiu 2 and like the Wirral Waters project permanently lodged in a sandtrap.

Therefore can we humbly suggest to the Council’s Destination Manager that they may need to adjust their branding   –

“Wirral – Not so much crazy golf as golf crazy!”

The Others & The Extras

Ana

Now if there’s one thing that get’s under Foulksey’s skin even worse than a bad dose of scabies it’s the mention of the AKA report, Anna Klonowski,Independent Review ,Martin Morton etc;.

Which explains why he had to ,ahem,take matters into his own hands and put them into someone else’s.
However less of the cryptic comments and onto the latest development in the slowly unfolding story which gives us an opportunity to repeat all of Foulksey’s favourite phrases.

It would appear that an old friend (and not a pretend friend ) of Wirral Leaks  – Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro  – has been keeping his hand in, so to speak , and by applying his forensic accountancy skills has finally battered the Council into submission about the full costs of the  Independent Review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s Response to Claims Made by Mr Martin Morton (and Others) –  to give it it’s full title.

This investigation was undertaken by Anna Klonowski Associates and was famously referred to by Foulksey during a Council meeting, after he’d been deposed as Leader of the Council , as a “£250,000 ambush” by the Tory group. Thus proving once and for all that his suitability for the role as Leader of the Council and Mayor may be called into question but it can never be doubted that this man sure knows how to play the snivelling victim.

Up until now it has always been the received wisdom that this investigation cost Wirral Council an eye-watering £250,000 whereas the true figure is a truly mind-blowing £410,000.

According to this weeks response from Wirral Council on the What Do They Know website the extra costs are “for professional services and related travel /accommodation expenses”
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/anna_klonowski#comment-51417

We can now exclusively reveal how at least some of these extra costs were accrued. After reading the What Do They Know response one of the people interviewed by Anna Klonowski during the investigation let it be known that during the investigation they were asked whether they felt safe to give a statement in Wirral Council offices or at an Apart-hotel in Liverpool. This is a kind of accommodation with the facilities of an apartment (own cooking facilities etc; ) but with benefits of a hotel (servicing of rooms etc.)

We understand it was from here that Mrs Klonowski held court and would meet witnesses if they felt uncomfortable being observed giving statements in Wirral (hence we presume reference to “The Others” in the report’s title – making witnesses sound appropriately enough like the mysterious, ghostly figures from the Nicole Kidman movie of the same name).

If this is the case this alone is surely conclusive proof that there was ( and many still believe still is) a culture of fear within Wirral Council.  Furthermore it also reinforces former Director of Law Bill Norman’s comment to local political commentator John Brace that the anonymity in the report was about protecting junior staff from reprisals from senior staff.

The revelation of massive extra costs comes as no surprise to our source but what does surprise them is that their statement and supporting evidence and the evidence of others appears nowhere within the final report.

Instead Klonowski states : “Despite the time taken to deliver the review it has not been possible to conclude on all matters….”.
This comes as a surprise to our source as they claimed they were interviewed months before the report was published – though they never received a copy of their statement nor was their documentary evidence ever returned!

However as Klonowski concluded in her review this doesn’t mean there was a cover up or conspiracy of any kind whatsoever ! – ultimately only time will tell whether this theory holds up and whether £410,000 of public money was well spent.

Indeed Wirral Leaks invites our readers to identify 1 lasting* positive outcome of the Independent Review.

* The vote of no confidence in Foulkesy doesn’t count as his recent appointment as Mayor proves this was short lived.

Dear readers , a cash prize of £4.10 found down the back of a chaise longue at Leaky Towers could be yours !!!!

Mark your entries : Rep Mgmnt and send to wirralleaks@gmail.com

Lessons Learned

Wirral-Leaks-LessonsLearned

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

As Wirral Council merrily continues to dismantle public services we note ruefully at Leaky Towers how quickly the “organisation” has returned to its bad old ways.

Firstly the libraries closure volte-face debacle of 2010 is seemingly making a comeback with Burgesski taking his turn to face the flak and issue a statement claiming there’s nothing untoward going on by reviewing the library service once again.
Of course such is the lack of trust and confidence in Wirral Council  that anything emanating from Wallasey Town Hall is instantly met with hostility and suspicion.

It seems to us that Super -Duper Director meetings must mainly consist of them drawing straws to see who is going to front the latest controversial Council press release. Funny we never seem to hear from bullet-dodger Clare Fish whose surname seems most appropriate , as considering her prominent role ,she seems to be about as elusive and vocal as Stringray’s Aqua Marina.

So having been spared the indignity of being overtaken by commissioners (thanks to Frankenfield’s intervention) and having hoodwinked the blinkered Improvement Board it would seem Wirral Council feels secure in returning to the familiar power bases and personalities. There’s Foulkesy ensconced as Wirral’s first citizen with sidekick George Davies still acting as his middle man and Matron McLaughlin back chairing a Council Committee. It’s like the Independent Review never happened – but then this is what happens when an investigator like Anna Klonowski only does half a job and there is no accountability ,no consequences and a politically apathetic public (witness the shockingly low turnout in McLaughlin’s Rock Ferry ward).

Inevitably we now have the return of all the issues which brought Wirral Council into such disrepute – the corrosive culture,the obsessive secrecy,the abuse of power.

There are only so many times the Department of Spin can rely on golf tournaments and Stella Shiu and artists impressions of Wirral Waters and pictures of the Mayor and Mayoress before the spin spirals out of control into sheer delirium

However the Department of Spin does contain at least one person who has learned the lessons of the past. They can certainly show those naive whistleblowers how it should be done. They have learned that knowledge is power – so use it to your advantage.

Keep your job and get a nice big cheque.Win-Win.

That now makes 2 people in the Wirral Council “Job for Life” Club.

Working For The Clampdown

clampdown

It appears to us as though Wirral Council are set on continuing their “improvement journey” without the aid of a moral compass.
The latest move of the ruling Labour group is to take over control of all scrutiny committees,thereby curtailing any questioning of their nefarious ways.
And so we witness the seamless transition from a rundown Council to a clampdown Council.

This was all decided at last nights first full Council meeting chaired by Foulkesy – who last week demonstrated the gravitas and solemnity he brings to the role by jokingly referring to the second part of the Annual General meeting as the “boring bits”.
Forget democratic processes eh Foulksey? It’s the Lord Mayor’s Show and we’d better not forget it!

Under the circumstances we don’t know whether the relative brevity of the meeting was a ruse to minimise dissent or to accommodate the Mayor’s apparent ADHD………

A further indication of the clampdown was the ousting of long time Labour liability Cllr Harry ” Crisp Packet” Smith from the Streetscene portfolio.
” You could say he’s been kicked to the kerb…..” commented Her Ladyship pithily.

It seems to us the Labour group have remembered the World War 2  adage that “loose lips sinks ships” and keen to keep HMS Wirral Council afloat they’ve thrown mouth almighty overboard.

And my goodness have Wirral Council got a supertanker of toxic waste they want to keep buried as deep as the Marianas Trench.
We’ve got the 3 year anniversary of the BIG/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods whistleblow coming up without any sign of the findings rising to the surface. Additionally we are promised more intriguing developments on the Council’s CCTV control room fiasco – which interestingly was part of Cllr Smith’s portfolio. A source writes:

“This will probably not see the light of day outside of the council as certain reputations will be severely damaged especially the senior officers duped into closing the cctv control room at the loss of eleven jobs and the reversal of decisions as they have kept the control room open with a large budget and untrained agency staff…….”

And of course all this goes without mentioning Wirralgate!

Is it any wonder the clampdown has begun?

Such a move is not an indication of a secure and confident organisation – it is the sign of insecurity and fear.
Therefore it still appears to us that there are more than just a few potholes to overcome on Wirral Council’s  “improvement journey”……………..

SLINGS AND ARROWS

BULLSHIT

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles….

We’ve said it before and we”ll say it again but our local politicos love dishing it out but they don’t like it up ’em. We’ve already reported Power Boy Pip’s wimpering about the fact that not all of the assembled throng at this week’s mayor-making ceremony prostrated themselves in adoration of Mayor Foulkesy. Pip’s reasoning that it was really,really bad form to upset the rellies and besties who were in attendance, especially consideringn Foulkesy has always been such a stickler for good manners and decorum!…….

Following this feigned outrage we then had ex-Councillor and bad loser Bri “Nylon” Kenny writing to the Globe complaining that the publishing of a “critical” letter by Lib Dem Councillor Stuart Kelly the day before the recent local elections was “political” and thereby inferring this influenced the outcome of the vote in the Birkenhead/Tranmere ward which Bri memorably lost.  SEE HERE

Don’t worry Bri  we’re sure they’ll find a safe seat for you next time round:

” Meanwhile he’s on the subs bench” chortled Verity
”  Does “subs” stand for substandard ” chipped in Her Ladyship
” Well it stands for something which is more than can be said of some of our Councillors!…” I retorted  –  Oh what larks we have at Leaky Towers!

No doubt it will be only be a matter of time before we hear Foulksey claim he’s being picked on by “disgraceful” blogs again (yawn!)

Oh , but in all good conscience he can’t can he?….. seeing as someone from the Council once complained about something similar,was supposedly ignored and the only way they could possibly be consoled was with a nice fat cheque. (No, we don’t know how that works either!…..)

So all we can say is, sorry Foulkesy, but if you put yourself in the position of mayor you automatically raise your profile and become an unmissable big red target for satire and all the “slings and arrows” that entails. As far as we’re concerned at Leaky Towers it’s “open season” and we’re not talking about the golf!

However on a more positive note we’d like to thank Councillor George Davies for having a little prick in the name of Diabetes Awareness.

SEE HERE

What next on the health promotion front for Cllr Davies?
A “Smear (Campaign) Test” ? But will a positive reading lead to a negative outcome?
Health warning to Cllr.Davies : If you want to pass this test steer clear of “sweeteners”…..